Don’t Drink the Water!

WaterinGlassYou’re good.  I’m good.  We all are good! Why wouldn’t God want us to be in Heaven with him?  Who wouldn’t want more of you or me?! We are that good! But, Hitler? Not good. Just ask a random person if they think Hitler is in hell and they’ll say yes.  Then ask them if they are going there.  Nope! Poor Hitler!

What if Hitler only caused the deaths of 100 Jews? Still in hell? 10 Jews? 1 Jew? How about he just held on to the ‘final solution’ as exhorted in his book Mein Kampf? Still then?  Where is the line I ask between the trajectory toward hell or heaven?  In Jesus’ sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus indicates that even harboring adulterous or hateful thoughts is condemnable, that is, sinful.  Looks like I am out!

It seems our relativistic culture has a problem.  There is a tendency to overestimate our own righteousness while underestimating God’s.  He sees our heart for what it truly desires and the unnatural bent we really have!  You can try to bend it back but it doesn’t erase it completely.  It takes God’s intervention to cure that; a true final solution (Phil 1:6).

God loves us, but hates the dysfunctional bent that we harbor in our hearts.  Now, of course you don’t have ‘this’ bent!  Hitler did, but of course, not you.

Let’s suppose that you came into my office and I offer you a fresh glass of water.

“Before you drink from that cup, can I urinate in it?” I ask.

“No way!” You reply.

“It’ll only be a little bit, you won’t even be able to see it!” I retort.

“No thanks!” You reply.

“How about I urinate in the cup just a little bit and then dump the water out and fill it back up?” I ask again.

“I’ll pass.”

This is how God views our sin.  The water (us) He loves.  It’s just the urination He can do without!

We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). However, He sent His son not to condemn us but to save us (John 3:16).  He took the punishment on himself instead (1 Pet 2:24) and if we accept that free gift (Romans 10:13-14) then He’ll change our bent with His own hands (2 Cor 5:17).

And as a result of His grace God views my glass of water as pure (2 Cor 5:21).

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Go to Hell!

A fantastic poem written by John Ault, senior pastor at New Hope Community Church in connection to Luke 16:19-31).  Thank you Pastor Ault for allowing me to share!

“Go to Hell!” Have you ever said those words and meant it?
We imagine Hell to be an awful place and wonder how a loving God could invent it.
Maybe the rationale for hell is hard to see
because of the dysfunction inside of me.

Science tells me the universe has laws,
and every effect is there because of a cause.
It makes sense that if its true on the physical level
moral and spiritual choices also have results that are inevitable.

Want to spend eternity locked in a room with Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin,
Ossama Bin Laden, Saddam Husen and Charles Manson?
Guess what? God doesn’t, And neither do I.
What makes us think that a person’s values change just because they die.
Put the damned in heaven and in time they’ll turn it into hell.
If you have any doubts, look at the earth we live on. I’d say we’re doing that here quite well.

Jesus told about a cruel, self-centered rich man who died and got hell as his sentence.
His heart was just as hard when he got there; totally devoid of repentance.
He expected God to send the beggar who sat in sickness outside his door, on whom he had no compassion
He expected God to command the beggar to leave the bliss of heaven to suffer in hell as his servant.
The man had no change of heart, but continued on in his totally self-centered and wicked reaction.
My response is, “Of all the nerve!
You got what you deserve.”

Now, we rationalize and say,
“I’m not as wicked as they!”
But project a straight line beyond the choices you make to the directions they take.
Are the restraints on your life’s immoral directions really from within or from without?
Where is your real love? What are the real desires of your heart?

God is Love and takes no pleasure in damning people.
But God is also good and just, so Hell was prepared for the devil and the rest of those who love evil.
Hell is not a necessary consequence.
Hell is for those who refuse repentance.
It is not an irreversible destiny.
God said through Jesus, “Come, rest in me.”
He undid the consequence of my rebellion and dysfunction when he paid the price on the tree.
He brought forgiveness and the promise of new life and heaven for you and me.